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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Obama calls Rubio to talk immigration, encourage continued work on bill



The White House this afternoon said President Obama called Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republicans involved in immigration talks, trying to ease a dust up that arose after details of Obama's immigration bill surfaced.

Obama was evidently trying to make nice after a rough weekend of accusations about leaks. Rubio blasted the draft bill, though initial reports were incomplete, and his office complained that Obama had not reached out to Republicans.

"This afternoon, the President placed calls to Senator Graham, Senator McCain, and Senator Rubio to discuss their shared commitment to bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform and to commend the Senators for the bipartisan progress that continues to be made by the Gang of 8 on this important issue," the White House said. "During the calls, which build on conversations that have taken place at the staff level, the President reiterated that he remains supportive of the effort underway in Congress, and that he hopes that they can produce a bill as soon as possible that reflects shared core principles on reform.

"The President has made clear that he believes commonsense reform needs to include strengthening border security, creating an earned path to citizenship, holding employers accountable, and streamlining legal immigration. As the President made clear when he met with Democratic Senators involved in the process last week, that while he is pleased with the progress and supportive of the effort to date, he is prepared to submit his own legislation if Congress fails to act.  He thanked the Senators for their leadership, and made clear that he and his staff look forward to continuing to work together with their teams to achieve needed reform."

Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said, "Senator Rubio appreciated receiving President Obama's phone call to discuss immigration reform late tonight in Jerusalem. The Senator told the President that he feels good about the ongoing negotiations in the Senate, and is hopeful the final product is something that can pass the Senate with strong bipartisan support.”



[Last modified: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 8:17pm]


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